This week we are talking about ways to slow down and savor the glorious season of summer. I offer the following ideas:
1. Be present.
Make a conscious effort to be fully present in the moments you share together with family and loved ones. Put aside technology and other distractions and give yourself permission to focus on just the one experience. Enjoy it!
2. Make a list.
You can do this by yourself or invite your family’s input. Write up a list of things you want to do this summer. On days where you are free or bored, consult the list and do something fun!
3. Eat fresh foods.
Whether you grow the foods yourself or visit a farmers’ market, summer is a great time to experiment with delicious new foods and ways to prepare them. Try a new food or try a new recipe for salads or grilling. Yum!
4. Do something new.
Summer is a great time to challenge yourself physically, especially with something that will take you outdoors. Try a zip line or a bike race or hike a trail, alone or wth friends. Get out there and challenge yourself!
Take advantage of your local library and indulge in a chick-lit novel or something else you might enjoy on the beach or in the hammock. Set a good reading example and show your kids what a pleasant lifelong activity reading can be — especially in the summertime.
6. Invite friends over.
No excuses! Summer is a great time for casual entertaining, in the yard and by the BBQ. Invite friends to hang out around a fire pit or for drinks on the porch. Forget entertainment perfection and practice the kind of hospitality we are all called to. No time like the summer!
This week I share an inspiring conversation I had with Lisa Mladinich. Lisa shares some of the ways that God has touched her heart and taught her important lessons through her students and through connecting with other women. We talk about life’s triumphant moments and also mistakes and what we can learn from them.
This week we are talking about how to find more time in your days for the things you want to accomplish but never seem to get around to. Summer offers a unique opportunity to get new things accomplished as we change routines and enjoy some leisure time. What are your goals for this summer? Here are my tips to help you:
1. Plan ahead.
Make a schedule to see where you have time in your day for different tasks and what opportunities there are for accomplishing new projects. Writing it down helps you see your responsibilities and prioritize.
2. Turn off the TV
Or Facebook,or whatever is distracting you and wasting your time. When you remove distractions and time-wasters from your day, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.
3. Set a timer.
Big projects can be broken up into smaller ones. Large commitments can be accomplished just 20 minutes at a time. I find that setting a timer keeps me focused on a single task and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed by larger projects.
4. Sacrifice sleep.
This can be a temporary help to finishing an important project. Either getting up earlier or staying up later than you normally do can be a simple way to “find” more time in your day. Of course, I do not recommend sacrificing sleep over the long term, but as long as you do manage to get enough rest, working when everyone else is asleep can be a great way to focus.
5. Enlist help.
Do you have access to childcare or house cleaning help? What creative ways could you get the help you need to focus on an important project. the bonus is, when you have time devoted in this way, you will be more inclined to focus on the task at hand. Babysitter is only available for 2 hours? Get moving!
This week I share a great conversation I had with writer/mom/podcaster/event planner Heather Renshaw. Heather shares about learning from marriage and motherhood, her love of sociology, her wild taste in music, and more. You won’t want to miss all that this beautiful mom has to share.
“I don’t know why this book ended up in your hands, but God does. He knows the ways he wants to change your life and the plans he has for your happiness in this life and the next. He has big dreams for you.
So much about our world today is empty and cold. If some of that emptiness and coldness has seeped into your heart, I pray this book will warm you, just a bit, to the idea that you were made for something better, something bigger, and something new. You were made for an intimate relationship with a God who knows you and loves you inside and out.”
If you or someone you know of could benefit from learning about Jesus’ unchanging and unconditional love for them in a deeply personal way, consider ordering a copy of You’re Worth It! today.
First, I update you on goings-on around here, from my birthday last week to my son’s high school graduation. Here is the speech he gave at the graduation ceremony that made me so proud and grateful:
Now this week we are talking about how NOT to eat a cupcake (or whatever your temptation is you are trying avoid). I share these ideas:
1. Eat Protein I love eggs! They start my mornings off with high protein satisfaction. When you eat protein, you feel satisfied for longer and you are less likely to experience sugar highs and lows, crashes, and cravings. It doesn’t have to be eggs, though. Find some healthy sources of protein you enjoy and make them a part of your everyday meals.
2. Plan ahead. Plan ahead to not have the cupcake in your house in the first place. Or plan ahead to have satisfying snacks with you when you are out so that you don;t wind up STARVING and ready to eat anything in the world. Shop wisely and stock your fridge and pantry with good choices.
3. Find New Rewards
Change how you think about food as a reward. Think about other things you enjoy that you could use to replace a “cupcake” as a reward for a surviving a stressful day or doing something difficult. Maybe you would like to get your nails done or take a long bubble bath. Make a conscious decision to change what you think about as a “treat” and you will find it easier to NOT eat the cupcake.
Hit the pause button in your brain. When you feel a craving, just PAUSE. You don;t have to say no, you just need to wait and re-visit the idea a little while later. Often, you will find yourself distracted after a few minutes and will forget about the cupcake you never really needed in the first place.
5. Just Eat the Cupcake.
It’s just a cupcake. Don’t give it the power to make or break your day and self esteem. Everything in moderation and balance! Sometimes it’s ok and appropriate to say yes to a cupcake, as long as your life and eating habits are otherwise in balance. It’s not about one cupcake.
This week I share an inspiring conversation I had with recording artist Andrea Thomas. Andrea shares what it’s like to work in the world of Catholic music and ministry, and some of the joys and trials she has experienced along the way.
This week we are talking about de-cluttering your life. We focus on three main areas:
1. The Kitchen What spaces need clearing out in your kitchen? How can you make sure to keep the things you use and need, but get rid of those things that are taking up space in your kitchen and cluttering your work areas for no good reason. I share a recommendation for A Slob Comes Clean and her method of storing plastic food containers.
2. Living Spaces What drives you crazy in your living areas? What “stuff” is piled up or taking up space that you don’t even see anymore? I encourage you to go through your house with a trash bag or a donations bag and clear out the junk. Give yourself the gift of free and open space in your home! If you are overwhelmed by the job of de-cluttering your home, just start small. Pick one area, one table, one drawer and commit to de-cluttering it today. I promise you will be inspired to keep going.
3. Your Heart and Mind
In addition to our physical spaces, our hearts and minds can get cluttered too. What is filling your mind with worry or “busy-ness”? What is burdening your heart and soul? Are you holding onto grudges or past hurts? Are you holding onto guilt that you could be freed of through confession? What are you waiting for? Get in there!
This week I share a conversation I had the privilege of having with Dr. Mary Amore. Dr. Amore shares about her work and ministry, her writing and her DVDs. She discusses her life’s triumphs and challenges with a sense of humor and practicality that will endear her to your heart.
I share Julie’s email, asking about a link to subscribe to Girlfriends with an Android device. We are now on Google Play! A big thank you to my newest Patreon supporter, Angie. And if you would like to leave a review and subscribe on iTunes, I would be so grateful! As always, I am so grateful for your presence here. God bless your week!
This week we are taking on the perennial topic of screen time and how to manage it. How do you set limits on your kids’ consumption of media and digital content online, in games, in social media, in movies, and in music? We share some ideas for:
1. Controlling Time I talk about ways I have in the past and continue now to control the amount of time my kids spend playing video games and watching TV, etc.
2. Controlling Content I share that I really like using Safe Eyes for an Internet filter, but there are other options available. I also find that Kids In Mind is a handy tool for screening movies before allowing our kids to watch them. But no system is perfect! We need to be having ongoing conversations with our kids about the media and what our Church teaches about human sexuality and dignity.
3. Talking About It
Prepare yourself for having those important conversations with your kids! Theology of the Body resources are a great tool for parents in having these important conversations (and no, I did not know that my book was listed at the top of this page when I decided to link to it — funny!).
4. What About You?
We moms need to control our own consumption of media and make smart choices about the kinds of movies we will watch, TV shows, music, and social media. How do you plan to limit your own screen time this summer and fully engage in your family relationships?
This week I share a fun conversation I had with Kate Wicker, my hilarious and humble friend who shares from the heart about messes, mayhem, and motherhood, as well as how we talk about our bodies and maintain good health. Kate shares some of her personal challenges and triumphs and the ways in which running and learning to care for her body have been part of her success.
I share feedback from listener Catherine who wrote from Canada to say that she enjoys the podcast, as well as others who have emailed and left reviews for the podcast on iTunes. If you would like to leave a review and subscribe on iTunes, I would be so grateful! As always, I am so grateful for your presence here. God bless your week!
This week I share five life lessons that I have learned from running that can apply to runners and non-runners alike.
1. You are stronger than you think.
2. Long term goals are the most important.
3. We all have a need for time alone.
4. Planning ahead makes a big difference.
5. Be more grateful.
This week I share a fun conversation I had with Mary Lenaberg, who blogs at Passionate Perseverance. Mary shares the good, the bad, and the funny from her perspective as a wife and a mom who is grieving the loss of her disabled daughter Courtney. You will not want to miss hearing about what Mary “shared” with the UPS man. !!!
I share feedback from listener Amy who connected with me on Voxer. She shares about her happy marriage and mentions Alice Von Hildebrand’s book again: By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride. Thank you, as always, for being here. Your encouragement and support of Girlfriends means so much and I am so grateful for your presence here. God bless your week!
This week we are talking about marriage again. This time, we are focused on “softening your heart” inside of marriage. What does that mean? Do you find yourself “hardening your heart” inside of marriage? What does that mean and how does it affect your relationship?
First, we discuss the idea of receptivity. Woman are uniquely gifted in being receptive inside of relationships. But do we sometimes reject this gift or deny it? Out of pride or defensiveness, do we sometimes close ourselves off in ways that hurt our marriage? I recommend Pat Gohn’s excellent book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious.
Next we talk about our habits. What kinds of habits do you have in communication with your spouse? Are they good or bad? Helpful or hurtful? We discuss ways to improve our daily habits to bless our marriages.
Finally, we talk about the idea of having a “Tabor Vision” of your husband. Do you see your man as God sees him or do you define him by his flaws? This concept comes from Alice Von Hildebrand in By Love Refined: Letters to a Young Bride.
This week I share a fun conversation I had with Bonnie Engstrom, blogger at A Knotted Life and co-host of The Visitation Project. Bonnie shares the amazing story of her son’s miraculous healing at birth and how his story is part of the official cause for the canonization of Venerable Fulton Sheen. She is a beautiful and enthusiastic woman of many talents and you will love getting to know her.
This week’s challenge is to examine your approach to your marriage in light of “softening your heart” as we talked about. Pick one area where you can improve, and make that change!
I share feedback from listeners David and Pam who left kind reviews on iTunes. You can leave a review too! Thanks so much for your support! And thank you, as always, for being here. Your encouragement and support of Girlfriends means so much and I am so grateful for your presence here. God bless your week!